Posts Tagged Archbishop Philip Wilson

Archbishop Philip Wilson sentenced to 12 months’ detention for child abuse cover-up / Australian Broadcasting Corporation News

Wilson is one of the few clerics to have been charged with concealing child abuse and he is believed to be the first Australian clergymen convicted of the offence. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation News)

The most senior clergyman in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse, Adelaide’s Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson, has been sentenced to 12 months’ detention.

“Magistrate Robert Stone adjourned the matter to August 14 while Wilson is assessed for home detention.

“He will be eligible for parole after six months.

“In May, the 67-year-old was found guilty of concealing the sexual abuse of children between 2004 and 2006 at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the 1970s.

“In sentencing, Mr Stone said ‘there is no remorse or contrition showed by the offender.'”

By Nancy Notzon, Australian Broadcasting Corporation News — Read more …

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Catholic clergy sexual abuse: moving toward accountability?

Recent events revolving around Catholic clergy sexual abuse suggest the proverbial tide may be turning in the scandal from the Church’s knee-jerk closing of institutional ranks to action against perpetrators and abettors, both by the Church and civil authorities.

A marked example of how far the institutional response has progressed toward accountability is retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick stepping down from active ministry after the Vatican determined that allegations of sexual abuse were found “credible and substantiated.” The abuse occurred nearly 50 years ago when he was a priest in the Archdiocese of New York. Nothing additional was known about the incident at the time of this writing, but McCarrick is likely the first cardinal to step aside because of sexual abuse.

Another obvious evidence of a change in the Church’s attitude is the change in Pope Francis. Over just a few weeks he has shifted from calling Chilean abuse survivors’ allegations “calumny” to removing three bishops, after he met with Chilean abuse victims and Vatican investigator Archbishop Charles Scicluna turned in his report. Chilean police and prosecutors also raided Catholic Church offices in the Osorno Diocese of Bishop Juan Barros. Scicluna and his colleague, Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, have returned to Chile to help ensure “adequate responses to each case of sexual abuse of minors.”

The Archdiocese of Mexico City’s response has been a partnership with the Survivors of those Abused by Priests on programs to protect children. To date, SNAP has been so critical of the Church for its handling of the scandal that it has become anathema to most bishops, particularly in the United States.

Throughout the scandal’s history, many Catholics have taken a jaundiced view of survivor settlements. Yet, in St. Paul-Minneapolis, which rose out of bankruptcy only recently with a $210 million settlement with survivors, parishioners are actually contributing to the settlement. “It’s the right thing to do,” said Father Daniel Griffith at Our Lady of Lourdes. “We’re all part of the archdiocese, and we all need to be part of the solution.”

States’ attorneys general have long tried to pry open the scandal, with limited results, but momentum is building, most visibly in Pennsylvania. A report is due at the end of this month from a grand jury investigation covering six dioceses (Greensburg, Allentown, Scranton, Erie, Harrisburg, Pittsburg — As of this writing, the Pennsylvania Supreme court has tempoarily blocked release of the report). Those close to the report tout conclusions as the worst ever. Legislators there are hoping the report finally will prompt changes in the state’s statute of limitation for sexual assault, which devastating grand jury reports in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese and Philadelphia Archdiocese were unable to achieve; although the 2011 report in Philadelphia resulted in the convictions of two priests.

Where the law allows, national governments have investigated institutional abuse of minors. The Church has figured highly in these investigations, which, for example, have taken place in Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and The Netherlands, and a statutory inquiry in the United Kingdom and Wales is ongoing. At least in Australia, the inquiry has led to changes in the law that include attempting to force priests to break the seal of confession where clergy sexual abuse of a minor is involved.

Speaking of Australia, the scandal has ensnared two highly placed prelates there. Cardinal George Pell is now standing trial on multiple counts of historic sexual abuse, while on leave from his position as Vatican treasurer. Archbishop Philip Wilson’s trial for covering up clergy abuse recently resulted in his conviction, and he is to be sentenced next month.

Guam’s Archbishop Anthony Apuron is now appealing his Vatican conviction earlier this spring for “certain accusations” of sexual abuse of minors. He has been removed from office. The Church and lawyers there are attempting to settle more than 170 civil suits brought by abuse survivors (184 people in Guam have said they were abused by clergy or others associated with the Church).

Predicting where all this will lead is risky. These events, however, are not the same as the apologies and promises that too often in the past have not resulted in change. They are examples of the Church and civil authorities actually taking action.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of Australia’s bishop conference told Cruxnow.com that the atmosphere today in the Vatican is totally different than in 2002. Now, “there is a determination to work with all the local churches in really trying to, first of all, understand the phenomenon and the scale and the complexity, and then to tie action, not just wring the hands or have another discussion, but to actually take action … There is absolutely no room for complacency, but there is room for encouragement.”

As Voice of the Faithful was recently quoted in a PennLive.com article on the Pennsylvania scandal, perhaps “we’ve come to a point where the Church has realized this cannot go on.”

(For many more examples of how the tide may be turning on the clergy abuse scandal see Voice of the Faithful’s most recent “Focus” news roundup column.)

Reprinted from Voice of the Faithful’s In the Vineyard e-newsletter.

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Australian prelate convicted of covering up sexual abuse / Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

The witness (a former altar boy) alleged (Archbishop Philip) Wilson told him he was telling lies because (Fr. James) Fletcher “was a good bloke.” The witness said Wilson had ordered him out of the confessional and told him to recite 10 Hail Mary prayers as an act of contrition. (AP on Cruxnow.com)

An Australian archbishop who was the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world charged with covering up child sex abuse was convicted Tuesday (May 22) and faces a potential two years in prison.

“Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict against Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson in Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, following a magistrate-only trial.

“Wilson, 67, had pleaded not guilty to knowing of the crimes of a pedophile priest in the 1970s. He denied under oath in court last month that two former altar boys ever told him that they had been sexually abused by a priest.

By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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Archbishop Wilson stands trial in Newcastle / Australian Associated Press on 9news.com

(Adelaide Archbishop Philip) Wilson, 67, the most senior Catholic official in the world to be charged with concealing child sex assault, sat quietly in court behind his team of lawyers during the prosecutor’s opening address. (Australian Associated Press on 9news.com)

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson has been accused of covering up child sex abuse by the Catholic clergy for nearly three decades.

“Crown prosecutor Gareth Harrison told the Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday (Dec. 6) that Wilson had allegedly been involved in a number of cases where he had tried to prevent abuse claims being reported to police from between 1976 and 2004 to protect the Catholic Church.

“In his opening address on the first day of Wilson’s trial where he is accused of concealing information about the abuse of an altar boy by now-dead pedophile priest James Fletcher in the NSW Hunter region, Mr Harrison said the evidence would show Wilson had failed to report widespread child abuse by the Catholic clergy and a teacher.”

By Australian Associated Press on 9news.com — Read more …

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Australia court says bishop to face charges he hid sex abuse / Associated Press

A Roman Catholic archbishop in Australia on Friday (Oct. 14) failed for a second time to stop a criminal prosecution against him over allegations he covered up for a pedophile priest in the 1970s.

“Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson, 66, was charged in April last year with concealing serious child sexual abuse in 1971. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge, which carries a potential two-year prison sentence.

“New South Wales state Supreme Court Justice Monika Schmidt on Friday (Oct. 14) rejected Wilson’s bid to have the charge dropped.

“The judge dismissed his appeal against a court decision in February to not stop the proceedings. That decision ruled that elements of the charge may be able to be proved.

“Schmidt rejected the argument of Wilson’s lawyers that the original court erred in finding the charge was valid.”

By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Archbishop Philip Wilson pleads not guilty to concealing child sex abuse / The Sydney Morning Herald

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson has pleaded not guilty to concealing child sex abuse in the Catholic church via his lawyer in Newcastle Local Court on Thursday (June 6).

“Archbishop Wilson, who did not appear, was represented by barrister Simon Buchen, who said his client was pleading not guilty and he was anticipating a lengthy hearing …

“Archbishop Wilson is the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world to be charged with concealing a child sex abuse allegation against another priest.”

By Gabriel Wingate-Pearce, The Sidney Morning Herald — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson charged with concealing child sex abuse / Newcastle Herald

Hunter-born Archbishop Philip Wilson has become the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world to be charged with concealing a child sex abuse allegation against another priest on what a pedophile priest victim has described as ‘a St Patrick’s Day we’ll never forget.’

“The Adelaide archbishop was charged on Tuesday with one count of concealing a child sex allegation made against  Hunter priest the late Jim Fletcher in the 1970s, nearly nine months after the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry recommended the charge.

“He is one of only a handful of Catholic clergymen in the world to be charged with concealing a child sex allegation against another priest, and only the third in Australia after former school principal and fellow Maitland-Newcastle vicar-general the late Tom Brennan became the first to face such a charge in 2012.”

By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, Australia — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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